sixthseal.com 3rd Birthday!

3rd birthday

sixthseal.com has been leading the wild into the ways of the man for three years and counting! :)

This blog has been around for nearly 1/3 of a decade. Oh, and
doesn’t switching the chronological measurement units make it sound all
the more impressive? ;) I’m in this for the long run…tomorrow will be
the premier of the fourth season of sixthseal.com – a big thank you
goes out to everyone who has been with me for the past three years!
Hola!

The words of encouragement and support despite my numerous
shortcomings and constant relapses means a lot to me…it shows me that
no matter how bad I fuck up, there will still be friends there to help
me. People like you make me think that maybe the world is not that bad
after all. I know I don’t reply my emails as often as I should but I
want everyone to know that I read every single one of them and it’s
nice to know that you care. I love you all.

I have been blogging for three years now, and it always brings me
down a nostalgic memory lane to see what I’ve been doing for the past
few years. I was a university student in Melbourne, Australia when I
started sixthseal.com. I worked as a programmer with XM Malaysia in KL
after I graduated, and I arrived in Kuching to be the system engineer
for Huygens Asia after that. I’m still with Huygens Asia, and have been
since I moved from KL to Kuching.

The past year of sixthseal.com has been interesting…the blog
started receiving a lot of publicity, and that has resulted in many
situations where people stopped me in town and asked if I’m the
“sixthseal.com guy”. It’s nice to be able to meet new people from
different walks of life through an online weblog…I’m glad I managed
to bump into readers outside – it brings a more personal touch to
blogging. :)

It seems to be a strange coincidence that sixthseal.com happens to
change a different digicam each year – my trusty Nikon 5700 was
replaced by the more compact 7.1 MP Nikon 7900
[sixthseal.com]. The mobile solutions for updating anytime and anywhere
in the world have also been realized this year, with the purchase of a
capable notebook equipped with Wi-Fi and CAT-5 network sockets. The
connectivity has depended on mainly GSM cell phone GPRS/EDGE networks
using IrDA or Bluetooth.

3bday hx4700

The purchase of an iPAQ hx4700 also allowed Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and
IrDA connectivity modes, with ample dual memory slots (SD-Card and
CF-Card). The Pocket PC running Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition
ensures that sixthseal.com is just a fingertip away and allows the
replying of comments without lugging around a notebook. The pocket able
iPAQ has been very useful in comment management. The connectivity is
provided by a SE K700i with Bluetooth and IrDA ports [sixthseal.com].

This year also witnessed several sixthseal.com expansion and
diversification efforts. There was a supernova in the sixthseal.com
universe which resulted in an aggressive push in domain name
acquisition. LimTeh.com
[limteh.com] was registered on the 1st of February 2005 to be used as
the “official” sixthseal.com forum. It has been planned out to be a
self sustaining operation and thanks to the help of the moderators team
BIG D, Vertigo, PatrickISU, Swedish-Chef, Lainie, kisps, deadbill, sweety, justine, Astrum, Dear Sergio, shanks, chemist_tip, simplicity, *Limo*, Skwermy and jadephoenix;
the LimTeh.com forum has been running smoothly. Let’s hear a big one
for the LimTeh.com moderator team for helping out! Cheers!

The sixhseal.com conglomeration of sites also added two new domains to the family – tiuniama.com [tiuniama.com] and tiuniamachowhai.com
[tiuniamachowhai.com] on the 29th of March 2005. The two mirror domains
are meant as a sociological experimental catch-all for trolls. The
other domain acquisitions made this year includes sixthseal.info and
louisalee.info, which would not be used to avoid diluting the main
blog’s name. Another little known fact is that the LimTeh.com forum is
also associated with limteh.net, limteh.org and limteh.biz domains,
although it’s not recommended for use or book marking as I only plan to
maintain the .com domain.

The “Holy Trinity” of .com, .net and .org was also acquired for
sixthseal.com – it all redirects to the main premium sixthseal.com
blog. The .net and .org domains was registered on the 9th of April,
2005. The domain name MalaysianBlogs.com
[malaysianblogs.com] was also registered on the same date – it’s going
to be a portal of Malaysian based or owned blogs, a directory of sorts.
I haven’t gotten that project up and running yet, but it’s going to be
fully automated – so bloggers can just add their own sites into the
relevant categories. SarawakBlog.com and SarawakBlogs.com was also
registered on the same date but those two are going to remain dormant
till I find an application for it.

3bday castitas offline

The sixthseal.com group of sites also witnessed a downsizing exercise, with castitas.com
[castitas.com] shut down for good on the 17th of September, 2004.
castitas.com will no longer be updated. However, the domain name is
still going to be maintained and all the previous posts will be kept as
a historical archive. The first drug blog in Malaysia has been forced
to be discontinued due to various reasons. If veritas decides to post
again, it will be at sixthseal.com, not at castitas.com – future
castitas.com content will be absorbed into the main sixthseal.com blog
from now on.

The pengsan.com
[pengsan.com] assignment outsourcing service has also ceased to operate
due to logistical and human resource issues and the associated pengsan.com twin blog
[pengsan.com] about substance use problems is going be suspended
indefinitely. The decision is aimed at streamlining the sixthseal.com
universe to allow more time to be spent on the main blog. The past year
has also been hard on a personal basis due to escalating substance
dependency issues, in regards to excessive and dangerous
methamphetamine binges. My struggle with methamphetamine use will
hopefully be contained before the 5th anniversary of the blog comes by.
:)

There were six main events during the third year of sixthseal.com
that were directly responsible for creating greater awareness about
this blog:

1. The MAC Red Ribbon Media Awards (RRMA ’04) held at Mandarin Oriental, KL

I was honored when Ely Azyze from MAC informed me that my entry on Guide to HIV Testing in Malaysia
[sixthseal.com] won the main award for creating HIV awareness in the
new category of Non-Traditional Media (Blogs). It was an all expenses
paid trip, including the stay at Mandarin Oriental, courtesy of
DaimlerChrysler.

I was actually flabbergasted that I got the main award coz if you
remember, the post has a link to another post regarding methamphetamine
in castitas.com and the Red Ribbon Gala Dinner 2004
[sixthseal.com] had the Prime Minister of Malaysia YAB Dato Seri
Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi, the ex-Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir and MAC
president and daughter of Dr. Mahathir, Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir in
attendance.

Thanks to Ely Azyze and the staff at MAC who made this happen! :)

2. sixthseal.com in The Sunday Times, Singapore

The biggest newspaper in Singapore, The Straits Times, came out with
a front page blurb with another full page pull-out inner insert bearing
the title “Drug dealers with stethoscopes?” on the Sunday issue of
their publication – The Sunday Times, on the 20th of June, 2004.

This is the only newspaper in Singapore – the other one is
considered a tabloid. Thus, I was surprised when one of my readers in
Singapore emailed me to inform me that sixthseal.com has been mentioned
in a drug related article of their national newspaper.

The full page printed paper and online article talks about doctor
shopping and the moral and professional judgments GPs have to make on a
patient-by-patient basis on whether benzodiazepine therapy can be
justified in patients fitting the monograph indication and also goes
into the exploits (I prefer the term “working the system” ;)) of doctor
shoppers such as myself. It paints a picture of a Singapore that seems
to portray doctors apparently forcing benzos on their patients and
mentions that:

“But the practice continues, and not just in Singapore. There
are Internet chatrooms – like weblog sixthseal.com – where addicts
share their favourite drug recipes and experiences.”

I think this is the first time the blog made it into a foreign paper.

I remember writing a long rebuttal letter to the author to let our
side (doctor shoppers) explain and raised the issue of sensationalism
by getting a stereotypical “junkie” like “Micheal” (if he even exists),
instead of attempting to maintain journalistic integrity and interview
a more realistic representation of the substance users of today –
young, well-paid professionals with respected careers.

…and I’m not even going to go into the offensive and derogatory
ending phrase “It would not only cut down on addiction, but also
shoplifting and other crimes that go hand-in-hand with drug abuse.”

I’m not even going to look up, it’s only going to throw me into a
righteous rage. The last statement is a logical fallacy and is just
there to create anti-drug use sentiments and spread FUD. It’s like
making the statement “a couple of journalists make up characters for
their articles to fit the story, therefore every single journalist uses fictional characters”. Logical. Fallacy.

That said, I understand that the columnist had articles to write,
deadlines to meet, and may not be aware of the more intelligent
recreational drug users choosing to enter altered states of mind to
seek more life experiences. I’m glad the columnist was kind enough to
get Singapore Press Holdings Publications to mail a complimentary copy
of The Sunday Times to me. Thank you!

P/S – Thank you, Salma, for mentioning my blog. ;)

It made traffic jump by an unpreceded 16 fold. The article helped me
reach the average Singapore family unit by mentioning sixthseal.com as
a place where “where addicts share their favorite drug recipes and
experiences” to pique paper reader interest into the online world.
Spoken like a marketing spin doctor, I only need to retain the interest
of *pulls number out of ass* 3.5% of the original paper inspired
visitors to sustain my readership for several years, with an estimated
*again from the place where the sun don’t shine* 0.1% of those telling
acquaintances and co-workers about the blog, which in effect creates a
grassroots viral marketing campaign.

Okay, I’ll stop now. :)

I’m not pissed off at all about being mentioned in the paper.
sixthseal.com is a firm believer of the truism that goes “any publicity
is good publicity”. ;)

3. City, state and nationwide newspaper coverage

The third catalyst that is responsible for either directly or
indirectly leading dead tree media readers to the sixthseal.com blog is
the coverage that’s divided into three sections:

4. Personal

These include personal appearances on the papers e.g. like in the Jolin Tsai concert.

5. Work-related

These are the news releases that are work related and involve the company.

6. Site-related

This is the direct publicity and reference to site(s) in the
sixthseal.com conglomerate. This one involves a magazine featuring
castitas.com.

Here’s a review of the more notable posts featured in sixthseal.com from 19/4/2004 – 19/4/2005:

Note: (V) denotes that the post contains a relevant downloadable video clip.

May 03, 2004
The Devil’s Kiss
Home baked Devil’s food cake with Hershey’s Kisses write-up. The entire process, from mixing the batter to baking is documented. (V)

May 07, 2004
Kuching bloggers meet @ Hot Seat
This historical event marked the first time a large scale Kuching bloggers meet has been organized.

May 18, 2004
Kapak (axe) brandi (brandy)
The Kapak brandy local distilled liquor is sampled and reviewed in this post. (V)

June 05, 2004
Download my nosebleed video while it’s still fresh! ;)
This post is another one that contains potentially disturbing material. (V)

June 12, 2004
Jolin Tsai Promo Tour Malaysia – Kuching Concert
Jolin Tsai is the young Taiwanese actress/artist that starred
in a few TV series and has a string of albums to her name. She came to
Kuching, Sarawak to perform for the first time.
(V)

July 12, 2004
Mild Seven PITPARTY 2004
It has F1 racing cars, girls, beer, and more girls. What more can a guy want? ;) (V)

July 19, 2004
The Definitive 7th Mile Teh C Peng
The Teh C Peng at 7th Mile (Kota Sentosa) is a local favorite –
families drive up from Kuching just to drink the three layered teh c
peng. This post features the original outlet.

July 31, 2004
Meth Dragon Video Download
The controversial video which features me smoking crystal meth. (V)

August 02, 2004
Kuching Festival 2004
This is the annual August Kuching festival which marks off a
month of celebration with fireworks, boat processions and a converted
gigantic outdoor food court. It’s a popular event with the locals and a
must-see for tourists.
(V)

August 07, 2004
Ice Sculpture Exhibition
The famed ice sculptures from Harbin, China comes to Kuching to
show their legendary ice carving skills by creating various monoliths,
including a complete palace made out of ice with an ice slide. The ice
sculpture exhibition was held in Kuching for a month in a -8 Celsius
temperature controlled enclosure.
(V)

September 21, 2004
Red Ribbon Gala 2004
The Malaysia AIDS Council biannual gala dinner and Red Ribbon
Media Awards ceremony that was attended by the Prime Minister of
Malaysia. I managed to win the Main Award for Non-Traditional Media
(Blogs) which was recognized with a large engraved pewter bowl and RM
2,500. The Red Ribbon Gala 2004 is the crowning glory of my blogging
career to date.
(V)

October 06, 2004
“I don’t want to feel” – Videos of me cutting myself
Self-inflicted wounds made with a balisong (butterfly knife)
during a period of depression. This is not a suicide attempt or a plea
for help, but just one of the things you do just coz you haven’t done
it before. I want to experience the feeling of holding a knife, knowing
exactly when and where you’re going to start slicing yourself. The
feeling of having full control towards the pain mechanism provides a
totally different scenario in an uncontrolled environment e.g. a fight.
It’s novel.
(V)

October 12, 2004
Magenta, Kuching
Magenta is an excellent art deco concept restaurant in Kuching with great service and excellent food.

October 26, 2004
Louisa’s 23rd @ TGI FRIDAY’S, 1 UTAMA
TGI Friday’s at 1U in PJ is where we celebrated Louisa’s 23rd birthday. Happy birthday! :)

January 14, 2005
Carvery Restaurant Review
The best restaurant for meat lovers in Kuching.

April 02, 2005
Guide to rolling a concealable cigarette joint
How to make smoking cannabis look legitimate. ;) (V)

April 05, 2005
It’s my birthday today, but don’t wish me a Happy Birthday
Methamphetamine IV use videos…on my birthday. (V)

April 11, 2005
Slash and Burn – The compulsion to self-inflict pain and leave scars
We have our ups and we have our downs. :) (V)

There will be constant changes and improvements to enhance the
sixthseal.com universe and feedback from readers is always welcome.
This year saw the introduction of heavy bandwidth utilization content
such as video files and movie clips. There are no plans to cease this
practice as video clips have managed to complement text and photos to
provide a more satisfying and media rich experience. There will be a
server migration planned in the third quarter of 2005 to manage the
increasing demands on the current server.

The visitor stats have also shown tangible growth in readership
numbers over the years, and I thank each and every one of you for
taking the time to drop by and share. :)

The first anniversary of sixthseal.com can be viewed here [sixthseal.com].

The second anniversary of sixthseal.com can be viewed here [sixthseal.com].

Much love to all the readers out there!

Long live sixthseal.com! :)

Susu Kambing (Goat's Milk) quaint cottage industry

susu kambing here

Susu kambing or fresh goat’s milk is available at a
cottage industry located about 100 meters away from the Petra Jaya toll
station. I’ve seen the small “Susu Kambing” sign with a goat image and
an arrow asking customers to drive down the gravel driveway at the
stall, but never did drop in until this morning.

susu kambing farm

I’m glad I did – the place has the charm of a small cottage
industry…there’s an enclosure where the goats are kept, I would
estimate that there’s a total of 20 or so goats in total. Look at the
second goat burying its head into the feed container. :)

susu kambing owner

I went early in the morning so I had to call into the open house
that’s in front of the enclosure where the goats are kept. One woman
peeked out and I asked her if goat milk is available. She replied in
the affirmative and asked me how many bottles I want.

susu kambing bottle

I went for one bottle – it’s a 300 ml bottle with indicator lines
running along the side, like it was some kind of medicine bottle. She
poured it into this bottle from a huge jug of fresh goat milk. It’s RM
13 per bottle (!). That’s very expensive milk…

susu kambing good

It’s good though, the goat milk tastes nice and fresh, though I felt
like a cough medicine addict chugging down my codeine from that
unfortunately designed bottle. ;) Nevertheless, I like the quaint feel
of the operation and the goat milk really tastes different from the
bovine equivalent – it’s good.

susu kambing alpha

Drink my milk, puny humans! ;)

KFC Curry Crunch

kfc curry crunch window

The new KFC Curry Crunch is the latest promotion to hit the menu and
it looks like it’s a winner. I went to KFC last night to sample the
Curry Crunch chicken, which comes with the tagline “You won’t believe
it’s KFC!”. It also mentioned “Try it now!”, so, hypnotized by those
three words, I walked into the KFC franchise…

kfc curry crunch promo girl

There was a KFC Curry Crunch promotional girl opening the door and
inviting passersby to try the new KFC Curry Crunch. She’s dressed in a
garish costume, but check out…

kfc curry crunch girl hat

…her hat. It has onions, chillis, garlics and all sorts of adornments on it.

kfc curry crunch buttons

The KFC Curry Crunch is being heavily promoted by the KFC staff, as
can be seen by the large buttons they wear with the Curry Crunch
chicken motif on it.

kfc curry crunch display

The KFC Curry Crunch display at the counter looks fine too, so I ordered a three-piece Curry Chicken set.

kfc curry crunch

This is what the KFC Curry Crunch looks like – there’s three pieces
of chicken that’s sprinkled with some kind of herb. I went for a
drumstick and two thighs.

kfc curry crunch macro

Here’s a closer look at the KFC Curry Crunch…the green herbs
that’s sprinkled on the chicken definitely adds texture and taste to it.

kfc curry crunch mmm

The KFC Curry Crunch tastes delicious! I wrote “The KFC Curry Crunch
is the best addition to the KFC menu to date!” in the comments slip the
KFC Curry Crunch promotional girl passed to me…it’s just that good!

XX chromosomes at the clinic

girl at clinic

I haven’t had the opportunity to do a XX chromosome entry for a
while and I’m glad I met some at the clinic just now. I have a couple
of regular GPs that I go for every week for my various benzodiazepine
needs and I’ve never seen good XX chromosomes there, despite being a
“regular patient” (the nurses all know me). It’s always older ladies,
not to sound offensive. ;)

I saw two girls walking in to the clinic today, and the red shirt
girl smiled at me. She’s accompanying her friend to the clinic. I told
them I’m going to take a photo and here’s it – the mosaic has been
applied on a wall pharmaceuticals poster to avoid revealing who my
doctors are. :p

I did not manage to capture her real life persona on the photo – the
red shirted girl has a bubbly personality, with nice eyes and a great
smile. She’s real friendly too…just a little young. ;)

Slash and burn – the compulsion to self-inflict pain and leave scars

slice burn one

It’s strange, I was just thinking about that tattoo I’ve wanted to
get and suddenly got the urge to test the resilience of my flesh
against a balisong…

slice burn two

I even took a lit cigarette and…er, cauterized the wound, just to see if my tactile senses are still in order.

slice burn

Download: Slice and burn [sixthseal.com]

It’s not unfamiliar to me…I’m not a cutter, but I use syringes so much I’m used to taking instruments to myself.

slice burn heal

I just find it a little hard to keep my head on straight sometimes…ever get that feeling?

Ainsley and Michelle's housewarming party

ainsley michelle house

I went to Ainsley and his wife Michelle’s housewarming party at
their new place in CountryVale last night. It’s a residential area
located about 4 1/2 miles away from Kuching and the place is so
pristine, it’s amazing. They just moved into a large corner
semi-detached house and I received an invite to the housewarming (which
came with a much needed map ;)) with most of the Huygens Asia family at
their place, starting 7 pm.

ainsley view

Ainsley (we work together) and Michelle managed to get a good plot
of land too – the view is full of dense foliage since there’s a jungle
located right beside their place. I went early with Kenny (another one
of my co-workers) and managed to see the view just before sunset.
There’s a shallow valley and miniature hills too – the place is serene. Lots of fresh air, good neighborhood, nice location – it’s a great place, Ainsley! :)

ainsley housewarming

There were tables laid out on the front lawn for the guests – I
think we were the first to arrive, coz what we thought would be a 30
minute drive turned out to be much quicker, due to what I can only
attribute to Kenny’s excellent speed on the highway. I was
impressed…he drives with the same abandon that I do, except he
doesn’t get into…er, road mishaps, shall we say, as often as I
do….which is pretty often. Cars, trucks, defenseless old ladies, you
name it; I’ve accidentally mowed it down while driving. :p

ainsley food 1

The food was prepared on another table and I managed to get a couple
of blurry shots of the fare…my apologies for the less than pristine
photos. Please forgive my Nikon 7900 – it indulged in various
benzodiazepines and had more than a couple of tokes from the peace pipe
before arriving, so several photos didn’t focus well. Myself, I went to
the housewarming party sober, I would never think to insult the hosts by attending a family friendly event without all my faculties intact. ;)

ainsley food 2

There was a wide variety of food at the housewarming…I remember
eating a lot of chicken drumsticks and helping myself to the fried kolo
mee/kampua mee…

ainsley food 3

…it was enough to feed about 30 adults and children. I was starved
and I ate my fill, and so did most of the Huygens Asia family, and
there were still leftovers. It totally ruined my fantasy of eating
everything in sight during the munchies. ;)

ainsley cooler beer

Lest we forget, there’s also a cooler filled with beer and soda at
the lawn. I did not know alcohol would be served, two thumbs up to
Ainsley for arranging that.

ainsley front porch

The front porch is lined with shrubs and huge cacti pots, which
leads to the front door. Everything is so clean and new, and I was
impressed that the place remained pristine despite the guests going
around. I don’t know how they do it…

ainsley piano

Ainsley was kind enough to give us a tour of his house – this is a
piano in a nook just off the first living room. There are two living
rooms…so I think this would be the guest living with the one at the
back designated as the family living room. I don’t know though, I only
have one living room and I’m sleeping in it. ;)

ainsley dog

There is also a very realistic looking dog beside the futon (very
soft, the futon, not the dog). I thought it was real at first, that’s
the detail it had. It’s realistic enough to give home intruders reason
for pause, and if that doesn’t, the countless surveillance cameras
(some hidden) hooked up to DVR’s and video servers for remote
monitoring would. We are, after all, in the IP remote video
surveillance industry. ;)

ainsley patio

The back patio with transparent skylights would be an ideal place
for breakfast with the breeze and fresh air. It overlooks the backyard,
which is going to be installed with a fish pond.

ainsley kids

The family relaxation room was populated with children and their
guardians digging into the food, which gave me a new wave of the
munchies. There will be a projector screen TV installed here in the
future too.

ainsley home office

The upstairs rooms have all been fully furnished and include a
dedicated home office for Ainsley (shown above). There’s also a fully
equipped air conditioned entertainment room with a large TV and A/V
equipment in front of a sofa for his kids as well. Hey mom, how come we
never had one of them “entertainment rooms” when I was little? ;)

ainsley photos

I passed by some of Ainsley and Michelle’s wedding (or was that engagement?) photos in the hallway…

ainsley kid bedroom

…which leads to their children’s bedroom. The starfish light decor
is very trippy – it flashes and pulses with different light
intensities, looks like a perfect trip toy. ;)

ainsley bedroom

Here we have the master bedroom…it will be a one phrase
description since I feel like I’m violating their privacy already. :p
However, there’s a very interesting contraption beside the bed…

ainsley chair me

…a Lorenzo chair! I felt totally at home chilling out in this
Lorenzo chair…I need to get myself one of these – it’s perfect for
reclining in, with its contoured curves and padded sides. I mean, just
look at me! I’m totally chilling out here…in fact, I’m so relaxed,
I’ve let Cali surfer dude speak invade my language syntax! ;)

ainsley guests

The rest of the invited guests decided to grace us with their
presence at this point, so we adjourned downstairs to get something to
eat…

ainsley food beer

I think I had three or four rounds of food…

ainsley michelle kids

Props to Ainsley and Michelle for being gracious hosts! Thanks for having us! :)

Mee Jawa Kuah Unta (Mee Jawa with Camel Gravy)

mee jawa unta stall

This is Bahgia 9 Cafe, one of the food stalls at the Civic Center which offers a rather unique dish…

mee jawa unta sign

…Mee Jawa with Camel Gravy. Camel meat and ostrich meat for that
matter, is not rare over here – there are a couple of industries
offering meat products from these animals as an alternative to…well,
chicken.

mee jawa unta pot

The nice ladies at the stall were kind enough to show me the camel
gravy (kuah unta) from which they make their Mee Jawa Kuah Unta with.
It comes in a steaming pot with camel meat. The gravy is made by
simmering the camel meat with various spices (they didn’t reveal which
ones exactly) overnight.

mee jawa unta served

We all ordered a dish of the Mee Jawa (noodles cooked Indonesian
style with a distinctive spicy gravy) – this is what it looks like.

mee jawa unta egg

The Mee Jawa with Camel is good…I can’t say that my palate is
sophisticated enough to detect camel meat in the gravy, but I can tell
you that it’s good Mee Jawa. The place has some righteous satay too.

Nikon Coolpix 7900 review – my latest digicam

nikon 7900

I just bought a Nikon Coolpix 7900 (the March 2005 newly released
model) two days ago for RM 1,888. My primary digicam, the trusty Nikon
5700 has been out of commission for a while due to a CCD malfunction. I
love that camera, it has a nice solid weight and the features are
great. It also looks good – I’ve always preferred black magnesium alloy
SLR type bodies to the silver ones for practical and aesthetic reasons.

Alas, it had to be sent to Nikon in PJ to be fixed coz every picture
that I took had chroma distortion at the top, so I figured it’s
probably the CCD sensor. I’ve been looking around for another digicam
while I wait for the 4 week turnaround time and decided upon the 7.1 MP
Nikon 7900. I’ve been waiting for it for a week, and no one in Kuching
had any, until I went to Hock Lee Center on Sunday and saw one on
display. It just got in that very morning.

Unfortunately, I had also seen the Sony Cyber-shot DSC V3 7.2 MP
digicam which looks a lot like my trusty Nikon 5700, except the Sony is
slightly smaller. It retails for RM 2,588, and did I mention that I
love black SLR-type magnesium alloy digicams? I’ll put on my flame
retardant suit and share the reason behind this – the silver digicams
looks cheap and unprofessional. I’m sorry; it just had to be said. ;)

Thus, I was caught in a predicament – should I retain brand loyalty
and go for the Nikon 7900 or should I get the Sony V3 which looks
fucking great and is only a RM 600 difference? Did I mention the Sony
can take CF Cards too? I don’t know if I mentioned this before but the
Sony V3 also has the SLR-type magnesium alloy body like the Nikon 5700
that I have and I love these d-SLR type digicams. It’s like a digital
SLR…except you don’t need to lug expensive specialty lenses around
and worry about breaking that RM 10,000 lens.

I’ve always gone for Nikon digicams (the 7900 is my third) due to
the stellar macro performance (people always ask me how I manage to get
such detailed pill shots) and also coz I have three CF Cards, two
EN-EL1 Nikon batteries and two chargers. Plus, I like Nikon. That was
before I handled the Sony DSC V3 though…and I just couldn’t decide
which one I should get. Actually, I had already decided to go for the
Sony, but I had to consult my gf, coz apparently, my finances are
audited by her. :p

She had very sound advice – go for the Nikon 7900. It’s technically
an upgrade since its 7.1 MP compared to the Nikon 5700’s 5.1 MP. The
other reason was because (and we’ve discussed this before) I already
have a d-SLR type (she calls it “bulky and unwieldy”) digicam (the
Nikon 5700), which is due to come back from repairs soon. Thus, common
sense dictates that one should own a “main” digicam (that would be my
Nikon 5700) and get a new “portable” one instead (which would be the
Nikon 7900).

It does make sense…there’s no point having two d-SLR type cameras
to lug around when you can have one to carry around and a portable one
to…well, pocket. Thus, I got the Nikon 7900. It’s a new release, it
just came out this month and it has a lot of new features, most of
which I find annoying, like the blurred shot warning (be damned if a
digicam starts to nag me). It’s pretty much useless except for newbies
coz experienced photographers would know a good shot from a bad one
right away. There is also no “burst photography” (rapid fire continuous
shots for a limited amount of time to increase the probability of
getting that hard to shoot scene) mode unlike my Nikon 5700 (which
photographers like for various reasons ;)) since it can only manage a
paltry 1.7 fps continuous.

The Nikon 7900 has some amazing features though – like the 2.0 inch
amorphous silicon TFT LCD screen. Fuck, that screen is HUGE. It’s also
clear, detailed and bright as fuck. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I
saw it. The size is awe inspiring as well – it’s 120 x 57 x 69 mm.
That’s the exact size of a pack of cigarettes. The
Nikon 7900 is portable, alright. If you can carry a pack of Marlboros,
you can slip a Nikon 7900 in and you won’t even notice the difference.

The neutral point of the Nikon 7900 is that it doesn’t get a second
glance from passer-bys. Everyone and their grandma (and her pet cat)
own a digicam nowadays, and this looks just like the miniature ones
that are flooding the market nowadays. I don’t feel like I’m covering
an event when I use it, unlike the large Nikon 5700. It’s good for a
compact digicam in a sense…it attracts less attention. It also
attracts less respect. It can be argued that only true d-SLRs command
the respect they deserve, but we’re not going there due to budget and
practicality issues.

The downside to the few days I’ve been using the Nikon 7900 is the
weight of the digicam…or rather, the lack of it. I’m used to the
comfortable weight (more than 1/2 kg) of the Nikon 5700 (bought it at
RM 3,100 and have been using it for two years, daily) and the
featherweight Nikon 7900 (about 180 g) requires delicacy during
operation, a trait I do not possess. I also didn’t like the shallow
“grip outcrop” to the right of the digicam after using the solid grip
of the Nikon 5700 for so long.

The best feature of the Nikon 7900 is the new “Face-priority AF”
function which does facial recognition and focuses on faces and people.
Nifty. The movie mode can record 640 x 480 @ 30 fps (unlimited) which
is great – it’s an upgrade from the Nikon 5700. It also has “Electronic
Vibration Reduction” which seems to work. I can see myself using the
two different digicams for different situations.

The other good thing is that there’s no learning curve to speak of –
once you’re familiar with a Nikon digicam, you can operate any Nikon
digicam without problems. I still have to practice being gentle with
the Nikon 7900 to avoid blurring the shots due to the light weight, but
that would come in time…and I definitely need to turn off that damned
Blur Shot Warning indicator.

Plus, the Nikon 7900 TTL is fucking amazing too – I strap it to my
belt using the original leather pouch (which looks pretty good
actually) and the opening mechanism is magnetic in nature. That,
combined with the dangling strap I keep allows me to tug on the strap
to snag the 7900 clear of the magnetic clasp while hitting the
appropriately placed power button and the Nikon 7900 boots up and is
ready to go by the time the digicam is leveraged into the right hand
(I’m right handed) via the strap rebound.

TTL (Time to Live) is a speedy 2 seconds, faster if it’s in standby
mode (so it doesn’t have to go through the Nikon intro which takes a
second).

How fast is that? Well, I’m not going to post a photo, but there was
an incident at a certain escalator at The Curve which is of an
ephemeral nature, and I managed to whip out the Nikon 7900 and caught
the scene in time. I’ll leave you to think about the nature of the
scene, but I’m telling you, the TTL is fast. ;)

I also liked the new D-lighting feature which adds detail to dark
areas of the scene composition. *cough* This feature alone justifies
the upgrade. The huge 7.1 MP photos that comes out at 3072 x 2304 gets
a big thumbs up from me too. I got a 256 MB SD Card with the purchase
of the camera, and I have another SD Card around but the other great
thing is the Nikon 7900 also has internal memory so you can take shots even when the SD Card is not in.

Imagine this scenario – you’ve just filled the SD Card and you’re
swapping it out when this shot of a lifetime comes along and there you
are, stuck in between reloads! Well, I can say without any shame that
the recurring nightmares that I have regarding this scenario is a thing
of the past. ;)

The nightmares that I’ve been having has now morphed into dream like
sequences where I just drop the SD Card, fuck reloading, point the
digicam at that shot-of-a-lifetime and press the shutter button and I
get the shot, all due to the internal memory of the Nikon 7900. I can
sleep easy now. Thanks Nikon! ;)

nikon 7900 buy

It’s definitely a great buy, but I’ll wait till the price drops if
you don’t need one right now. RM 1,888 is a little steep for a consumer
grade digicam. I still love it though, it’s pocket able so I won’t have
to strap my sling bag, which I’m told is a fashion faux pax when I’m
wearing a coat. ;)

I like the leather belt strap though…that’s how I’m carrying it now.

McD Chicken Porridge (Bubur Ayam McD)

mcd bubur ayam

McDonald’s has a range of porridge in their menu in Malaysia and has
for quite some time. It’s our “healthy” alternative to the burgers and
fried chicken that is a staple of McDonald’s. Bubur Ayam McD
(McD Chicken Porridge) is billed as “hot and tasty” and while I can
attest that it’s definitely hot (eating it before it cools down will
definitely give your tongue a good scalding), I’m not so sure about the
tasty part.

mcd bubur ayam serving

This is a large serving of Bubur Ayam McD. It literally translates to McD Chicken Porridge
and costs RM 5.20 for a large Styrofoam container full of chicken
porridge. It’s about as big as one of the premium Ramen bowls out there
and comes with a plastic spoon (Western spoon as opposed to the Chinese
“soup” spoon usually used to eat porridge) and four packets of pepper
(which you’ll need).

mcd bubur ayam open

Here’s what McD Chicken Porridge looks like when it’s opened – it’s
steaming hot chicken porridge with spring onions, fried onions, chilli
and various other condiments. It doesn’t taste so good out of the bowl,
so I recommend…

mcd bubur ayam pepper

…using all four pepper sachets to spice the McD Chicken Porridge up a bit…

mcd bubur ayam close

McD Chicken Porridge isn’t so bad when liberal amounts of pepper is
used to flavor the otherwise bland porridge. It’s good for the times
you’re not really hungry at lunch and want something light.

Bubur Ayam McD has nice, large and tender chicken chunks too…

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